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Ranked: The 10 F1 teams at the 2024 Japanese GP

Red Bull got back to winning ways in Formula 1's 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, which developed into an intriguing strategy battle for those behind.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

In the hottest conditions of the weekend at Suzuka, Verstappen was never threatened even through two standing starts around the crash between Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon at Turn 3 on the opening lap.

Behind, Ferrari continued its early 2024 podium streak via Carlos Sainz and made a bold strategy choice for Charles Leclerc work, after the Scuderia had endured a disappointing qualifying session.

But there were plenty of additional factors across the grid that fed into how we rank the teams following their second visit to Japan in six months.

1. Red Bull

Back on ground where the RB20 is designed to dominate – with its tyre kindness and aerodynamically efficient design – Red Bull easily resumed its position at the head of the pack. It headed the grid as it could keep the softs alive for much longer over a qualifying lap, then through both starts its drivers kept things clean.

Verstappen reversed an FP3 long-run deficit to Perez in the race, which he effectively led from start to finish, other than the early parts of the second and third stints when the Ferraris on different strategies cycled to the lead.

This was also another weekend where there was no off-track drama for the reigning champion squad, although some in the paddock feel there are still further storms to come on that front.

2. Ferrari

Had it not recovered so well in the race, this might've ended up as a lower ranking. Suzuka was always going to be the first test of the team's position as Red Bull's closest challenger so far in 2024, as the high-speed corners here bring McLaren further into play. This contributed to its qualifying defeat, but Ferrari has also concentrated on designing the SF-24 to be better in such territory anyway.

Leclerc in particular was lost on tyre preparation in qualifying, which meant he started down the order in eighth. But Ferrari was strategically sound to switch him from its 'Plan A' to 'Plan C' – a one-stopper that at one stage looked like it might get him ahead of Sainz too.

But the Spaniard extended his purple patch with a series of decisive passes late on to make use of his late tyre offset advantage to nail Lando Norris and Leclerc too. Ferrari finished 44s behind Red Bull here six months ago, just 20s this time.

3. McLaren

A solid weekend for the team back on happier ground for the MCL38 given Suzuka's high-speed sequences.

Norris did well to outqualify Sainz and stay ahead of his former team-mate in the early stages after both starts. But going aggressive on strategy exposed him later in the race, where Ferrari was able to make its race pace advantage pay.

Oscar Piastri was a shade slower than his team-mate across the sessions that mattered and it was his mistake on the penultimate lap that let Russell finally get by on the run to Turn 1.

The team is fearing the next round in China due to its many low-speed corners.

4. Aston Martin

Aston Martin would've ended up higher in this ranking but for Lance Stroll's latest poor weekend, where he ended up out in a Q1 session where Fernando Alonso was second. Alonso would ultimately qualify fifth – reflective of the gains Aston felt it made with its sidepod update here and his prowess on this demanding course.

In the race, Alonso maintained his position in the mid-pack of those chasing Red Bull – beating a faster McLaren too in Piastri. In the closing stages, he appeared to be dropping back to give the Australian DRS to aid his thrilling late fight with Russell.

Eight points were a solid reward for Alonso's work, on a weekend that had begun with a major focus on his racing tactics after the Melbourne controversy.

Stroll climbed from starting 16th to finish 12th in a battling race, surviving an investigation into the release from his second stop and vocally ruing his straightline speed performance against his rivals late in the race.

5. RB

Ricciardo's early crash was costly in terms of repair time and damage bill in a cost cap era, more on that later, with the Australian surely copping most of the blame for his shunt with Albon as he seemed to have more space on the inside of Turn 3 as the pack swooped in and instead drifted to the outside where the Williams had its nose.

But RB can reflect on an excellent weekend otherwise as Yuki Tsunoda secured the point Stroll left available. Tsunoda had already delighted his home fans by getting through to Q3 at Ricciardo's expense but then backed up that excellent performance with a fine race drive.

It was made harder by being swamped by soft-starting drivers at the initial start, but he recovered superbly, including two exceptional passes through the Esses sequence.

This result moves RB further clear of Haas in the lucrative early battle for sixth in the constructors' championship.

6. Mercedes

Mercedes is adamant that it made a breakthrough with the W15, especially with what it has flagged as a weakness when temperatures go up, at Suzuka, with Lewis Hamilton in particular left feeling much happier with his car balance across the weekend.

The team worked at balancing tyre temperatures across both axles to make things easier for its drivers in qualifying, but in the crowded scrap behind Red Bull against the clock, it ended up on the wrong side of a tiny one tenth split across four teams.

In the race, Mercedes switched to the hard tyres during the red flag, as it seemed to be evaluating trying a one-stopper given the extra flexibility afforded by the more durable rubber. But it soon went away from this and put its drivers back to the typical Suzuka two-stopper.

Russell was getting stuck in at the end, attacking Piastri where he could even as the faster McLaren was getting DRS assistance from Alonso.

7. Haas

A slightly quieter weekend for the American squad than at some of the other early 2024 rounds, despite vocal local support for new team boss Ayao Komatsu.

Nico Hulkenberg led the way in qualifying and jumped the RBs off the line thanks to his soft-starting tyre strategy, which Haas pulled off with an aggressive early stop to go to hards after the second start.

He and Kevin Magnussen were in the thick of the action later on. Haas gets this ranking largely by default as it missed out on the final point and lost ground to RB, but mainly because there was more misery for other teams.

8. Alpine

Another solid weekend in the sense that Alpine again avoided the ignominy of qualifying last, with Esteban Ocon escaping Q1 for the second race in succession.

In the race, its drivers did manage to lightly collide in the pack chaos at the second start, but they avoided wiping each other out and went on to record a double finish. This was, however, down in 15th and 16th in a race where two of the three retirements came via drivers that started ahead.

Alpine did bring front wing and beam wing upgrades here, which it always felt was never going to truly change its 2024 pecking order position. But it did help lighten the A524 – something the team has been struggling with since testing.

9. Sauber

Sauber gets this position for a combination of Zhou Guanyu qualifying at the rear of the field, then retiring from the race he started with a new survival cell after Sauber opted to change it post-qualifying due to a gearbox problem.

Valtteri Bottas brought his C44 with its updated floor home in 14th, but mercifully for the team, there was no repeat of its pitstop disasters of the opening rounds.

It still lacks a long-term fix on this and so its in-race services here were steady by modern standards, at around four seconds.

10. Williams

Back to the crash damage bill consideration, as here Williams again had to repair the car Albon shunted in Melbourne when Logan Sargeant biffed it off at Dunlop Curve in FP1. After this, it was possible to detect team principal James Vowles' frustration when he said Sargeant "just didn't know where the car was on track relative to where he expected it to be anyway".

Albon did well to get the other FW46 out of the Q1 scrap but needed so many new softs attempts he only had one go in Q2, then his race was over before it was barely started and Williams was left facing more yet repairs before the next round China.

Sergeant then added embarrassment to his early season late in the race by sliding off at Degner 2 having bottomed out on the exit kerb of the first part of the complex while pressing on during the closing stages. He did reverse away and finished last, but felt "we still could've had a decent result, but I made that little mistake".

Watch: F1 2024 Japanese Grand Prix Review – Normal Service Resumed

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